Florida Senate set to approve 6 week abortion limit
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Senate on Thursday took up a bill that would prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and positioned it for an expected vote Monday.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Erin Grall from Vero Beach, is one of the most controversial issues of this year's legislative session.
GOP senators Thursday rejected a series of proposed changes sought by Democrats.
Earlier Thursday, the House Health & Human Services Committee voted 13-7 along almost-straight party lines to approve the House version of the bill. Republican Rep. Traci Koster from Tampa joined Democrats in voting against the bill. Republican supporters said the goal is to protect life.
"There isn't a person in this room that didn't go through a womb to be born," said Rep. Ralph Massullo. "We've heard a lot about people that respect life and want us to respect their rights. Well, we need to respect the rights of the unborn, just as much."
But opponents said the proposal would deny access to health care for women.
"Regulating one's body is wrong. It's wrong," said Democratic Rep. Marie Woodson from Hollywood. "We cannot sit here and regulate people's bodies and make decisions about what a woman should do, because I am not in the position."
With Thursday's approval by the committee, the House bill is ready to go to the full House.
The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis last year approved a 15-week abortion limit. But that came before a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states to control abortion laws.
The proposed six-week limit includes a major caveat: Seven abortion clinics and a physician filed a constitutional challenge to the 15-week limit. A key issue, in that case, is whether the limit violates a privacy clause in the Florida Constitution that has helped protect abortion rights in the state for more than three decades.
Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal, moving to a six-week limit would be contingent on the Florida Supreme Court effectively upholding the 15-week law. It is unclear when the court will rule on the challenge, though it probably will be after the legislative session.
CBS Miami Team
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First published on March 31, 2023 / 8:52 AM
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